The Killer Inside Me took its place among the most debated films on Tribeca’s slate at its star-studded screening, Tuesday night. Cast members Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson defended the film’s explicit violence during a Q&A session following the NY festival premiere (it debuted at Sundance in January).
The 2nd film adaptation of Jim Thompson’s 1952 novel (Stacy Keach starred in the 1976 version) follows Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford (Affleck) who spends most of his time on the other side of the law. It’s sparked controversy with two scenes of extreme violence toward women, including one where Ford repeatedly pummels a female (Alba) in the face. The provocative film has set off another exploration vs. exploitation argument over the work of director Michael Winterbottom (Nine Songs, The Road To Guantanamo). Hit the jump to hear the full discussion, including why Alba wanted the original scene to be even more raw & how Affleck thinks it compares to the Saw franchise.
Film Blogger Glenn Kenny led the post-screening Q&A with Winterbottom & five cast members: Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Liam Aiken (Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events) & Matthew Maher (Gone Baby Gone).
WARNING: Various spoilers ahead. Here’s the audio of the Q&A and below are the highlights:
— 1:43 – Casey Affleck described what it was like to shoot the scene where he literally re-arranges the face of Alba’s character with his fists: “Those scenes, sometimes like love scenes, end up being much more technical than anything else.” He continued, “It ends up just being very kind of, over-choreographed and, sort of, in that way, kind of easy.” Alba, on the other end of the violence, snapped “easy for you.”
Casey continued, “it’s true. Jessica’s there & she’s got eight hours of prosthetics on her face, or whatever.” Alba mocked, “or whatever. I can’t see (with the makeup).” Affleck teased back, “not complaining at all.”
– 7:22 – Alba explained she initially “thought the script was actually, believe it or not, a watered-down version of the novel.” She told Winterbottom of the novel, “I want to shoot this,” brutal violence and all. Alba felt there was a good message about women in the 1950’s.
— 11:14 – Affleck said, “I knew people would kind of have a kneejerk response to” his character. He saw the message about what drives his character’s behavior, and explains “it’s not without any thought that the violence happens … there was a real reason behind it.”
— 13:52 – Affleck responded to the controversy, “there ought to be some room for that (to say) I think this is irresponsible (but) I find it to be very, very, very responsible.” He continued, “if the violence was depicted in a way that wasn’t upsetting & wasn’t really, really disturbing and hard to watch, then that would’ve been irresponsible.” He compared it favorably to films where “people are killed indiscriminately” and “de-humanized” & “you don’t really care whether they’re killed by soldiers or by robots or monsters” with a shot at the Saw franchise.
— 15:36 – Having listened to her old 200 Cigarettes co-star Affleck’s 5 & ½ minute answer about The Killer Inside Me, Hudson joked “I have known Casey for over a decade & I have never heard him talk that much.”
— 16:01 – Hudson mentioned she was already planning to read the novel when she was approached because it was listed in 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die. Of the violence, Hudson admits, “I was kind of shocked” and hadn’t “done a film this dark” but “took to it.”